A to Z Challenge: Choices




That’s where Clive wanted to be. Soaking up the sun. Cruising in a top-down convertible. Eye candy as far as his vision stretched.

That’s what Clive wanted.

It’s not what he got.

What he got was a botched heist that left two of his partners dead, one on the run, and himself buried in three feet of snow with a broken leg. He exhaled slowly, watching his breath dissipate into the night air. The weather was getting worse, and it didn’t seem like any kind of help would arrive soon. He should have just let the cops take him. Prison would be warm. Or warmer than this, at least.

Clive tried to ignore the fact that he couldn’t feel his toes any longer and was starting to lose sensation in his fingers as well. He tried to dig himself out again, but his fingers were too numb and his arms too tired. He yelled, hoping someone would here him somewhere. It was no use. There was nobody there.

There was only the white and the silence and the cold.

As the wind picked up, Clive wondered how things would have turned out if he’d picked a different path in life. If he’d followed in the footsteps of his old man, or actually tried to make something of himself. He could’ve gotten an athletic scholarship maybe, or who knows, maybe he could’ve built up his smarts in school. But he didn’t. Instead, he followed the influence of Freddy and Wheeler, who showed him how to pick pockets quietly, and held the door open for a life of crime. Clive walked through that door without a second thought.

He could have backed out of it if he wanted to. Given it all up after his last stint in jail. Maybe he’d have settled down with Callie. His frostbitten lips twitched upward at the thought of Callie. So beautiful and smart and caring. She wanted a better life for him, but he couldn’t let go of the thrill so she ended up letting go of him. She couldn’t watch him waste his life away was what she’d said as she walked out the door. Good thing she wasn’t here now. Or was she?

Clive’s eyes searched the blinding white expanse around him, hoping to find a familiar shadow. But he was still alone.

One more job. That’s all he had left in him. One more job, a big score, and he could retire. He was basically retired anyway, working as a mechanic to make ends meet. He could have refused. But he needed the money, he wanted it. Just one more job.

At least that was the plan. But the one thing he’d learned in life was that plans never worked out the way you wanted them to. You always needed a backup. Too bad nobody had one. Security was tighter than they’d expected. Things went bad. Clive could have just knocked that guard out, but he really didn’t want the risk of keeping a witness around. He did what he had to do. And then the cops came and everything fell apart.

He could have changed his life whenever he wanted. But the truth was, Clive never wanted to change. He just wanted to live life as it was. And he was so close to living the life of his dreams. So close to making it out. And if he did make it out, he knew exactly where he would go.

As Clive’s eyes grew heavier, his breath coming out in weaker gasps, he could picture it right in front of him.


That was what Clive wanted.

It’s not what he got.


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